Status of Women: Ohio women are educated, engaged, and stretched

Women of Ohio are well-educated, civically engaged, and provide care for both children and other adults. They are also more likely to live in poverty, be a victim of domestic abuse and live alone compared to the male peers. The 2023 Status of Women Fact Sheets provides data for each of the 88 counties in Ohio that illustrates these social conditions that impact women across Ohio. Highlighting the status of women’s social circumstances—civic participation, education, family structure, caregiving and experiences with domestic violence—can provide the information needed for policymakers and change agents to continue to promote policies that work towards equitable opportunities for women throughout Ohio and make changes where needed.

Women of Ohio are well-educated, civically engaged, and provide care for both children and other adults.

Urban areas in Ohio are becoming more diverse; rural areas less so

Age categories are broken up into meaningful life stages. As people live longer and the Baby Boomer generation ages, adults aged 65 and over outnumber children under 18 years in many counties. Overall, Ohio has more children under 18 years of age (2,629,989) compared to adults aged 65 and over (2,004,802). But there are 12 counties in Ohio that have more adults over 65 than children under 18, with many of these counties are in the Ohio Valley.

There are 12 counties in Ohio that have more adults over 65 than children under 18, with many of these counties are in the Ohio Valley.

The United States is becoming more diverse, particularly the younger generations. In Ohio, BIPOC residents experienced a growth in the past 10 years, to a current level of 22.2%. The largest share of residents continues to be non-Hispanic white, at 77.8%. Urban areas in Ohio are diversifying at rates similar to the state as a whole, (around 3.6%), but rural areas are not, only diversifying at a rate of a half a percent in those ten years.

More women in Ohio are registered voters, outpacing the rest of the nation’s women

Women have been outpacing men as new registered voters, likely due to reproductive freedoms at stake. Ohio has the second highest registration increases from women in the country. Ohio women are more likely than men to be registered to vote and cast a vote, with 75.7% of eligible women in Ohio are registered voters, outpacing the rest of the nation; only 68.2% of women in the United States being registered voters.

More Ohio women than men hold degrees at all levels of college education

A high school education is a key indicator for not only economic success, but health status and wellbeing as well. Individuals without a high school education have higher rates of poverty, chronic conditions, and lower rates of self-reported health. High school dropouts make $20,241 on average per year and make $1.8 million less in their lifetime compared to an individual who holds a bachelor’s degree. Ohio’s women in the class of 2021 had higher high school graduation rates than their male peers and this trend continues throughout almost every county. Graduation rates for women in Ohio are 3.5% higher than they were 5 years ago. Statewide, Asian women have the highest high school graduation rates at 96%, with Pacific Islander women having the lowest rates at 87.1%. Black, non-Hispanic women and white, non-Hispanic women have graduation rates of 84.7% and 93.4%, respectively. The higher rates of women versus men graduating high school are a trend that is seen nationally.

Statewide, there are more women than men with all levels of college education as well – from associate’s to graduate/professional degrees. This remains true for most counties in Ohio, and in ten counties (Coshocton, Gallia, Harrison, Highland, Morgan, Perry, Preble, Ross, Vinton, and Wyandot counties), women are over 10% more likely to have a college degree. Across all races, except for Asian of which there is a 10 percent difference, women are more likely to have at least a bachelor’s degree when compared to men.

Most households in Ohio are married-couple homes

Married-couple households make up the largest share of households in Ohio at 45.3%. Nonfamily households, which consists of a householder living alone or where the householder shares the home exclusively with people to whom they are not related, make up the next share at 37.6%. An example of a nonfamily household would be individuals living with roommates or in group homes. In Ohio, there are more female-headed households without a spouse present than there are male-headed households, at 12.2% and 4.8%, respectively. Female-headed households are more than three times as likely as the rest of Ohio households to live in poverty, and that rate increases to four times as likely when there are children present in the household.

Older women aged 65 and older are living alone at much higher rates than older men.

Older women aged 65 and older are living alone at much higher rates than older men, with 35.4% of older women living alone, compared to 22.2% of men. Of all women living alone, 1 in 2 are aged 65 and older, compared to about 1 in 4 of all men living alone being aged 65 and over. As life expectancies for women are almost 6 years higher than men, this data does make sense. In the older population, men are also apparently more likely to marry after widowhood or divorce than women, leaving a larger share of older women alone.

Caregiving is a top reason many Ohioans are not working

Nationwide, 6 in 10 caregivers are women, and this estimates that there are almost 900,000 female caregivers in Ohio. Family caregivers spend over one-fourth of their income on caregiving activities, on average. This rate increases for minority caregivers, with Black caregivers spending an estimated half of their income on caregiving activities. Caregiving is also a top reason as to why Ohioans are not working, with 234,000 adults reporting so.

Understanding the demographics and social status of Ohio’s women is the first step to understand its impact on economic and health factors.

Women are dying from domestic violence incidents at a rate 4:1 compared to men in Ohio

Women are overwhelmingly overrepresented in domestic violence victim counts, with women dying at a rate of 4:1 when compared to men in Ohio. Males outnumbered women as perpetrators of domestic violence at a rate of 9:1. The coronavirus pandemic also had huge impacts on domestic violence rates, both worldwide and nationally. Lockdowns and social isolation contribute to exacerbation of psychological consequences of stressors, like depression. The COVID-19 lockdown had significant economic impacts as well, which became a significant stressor for millions of people who lost their jobs or income for a period of time. All these factors have resulted in a positive relationship between social isolation, crisis situations, and domestic violence incidence rates, with calls to help-lines up 26 percent in some areas.

Understanding the demographics and social status of Ohio’s women is the first step to understand its impact on economic and health factors. Our hope for these fact sheets is so that legislators, program developers, community leaders, and citizens can understand the status of women in their communities. Vice President Harris said, “the status of women is the status of democracy.” Empowering women is empowering all of society.